Photo by Elodie Godde on Unsplash
Mom struggled with the SUV door and was halfway out before I could reach her. “I’m fine, Mikey.” She pressed her lips together so tightly that they became devoid of color and momentarily disappeared. To steady herself, she gripped my arm so tightly that I had to fight back a whimper. ‘Old people use scooters and walkers’ she retorts any time I suggest she consider one. Aunt Terri, Mom’s older sister, had died over the winter. With the end of May approaching, Mom wanted put something pretty at her grave.
As we approached the entrance of Olsen’s Greenhouse, a man on one side of the doors and a woman by the other side tried to hand each of us a brightly colored pieces of orange paper. Mom refused it and said, “I’ve already found Jesus and have a church I like.”
Taking the paper, I shrugged and sheepishly grinned at the confused man. He looked vaguely familiar and glanced away upon eye contact. As we walked, I scanned the headline. ‘The BWCA Miracle Trees aren’t safe. They are an invasive species. Please don’t buy or plant them.’ It continued in great detail. It was information overload so I carelessly folded it before jamming it into my pocket.
The odor of flowers and damp soil tickled my nose we strolled along the main aisle. She wobbled like the soles of her shoes were lined with acorns from her beloved shade tree. Mom had insisted on picking out the plants herself. Even a dullard like me knew not to insult her by offering to do it for her.
As Mom examined the different flowering plants, I noticed orange flyers haphazardly tossed on the floor, stuffed between bag if soil, and on nearby shelves. A grumbling greenhouse worker walked up and down the aisles scooping them up and stuffing them into a plastic bag. A nearby display of saplings advertised that they were next generation of BWCA Miracle Trees. The fifth anniversary of the wildfire was quickly approaching and some people thought these trees might save our forests from future fires.
This newest iteration was called the ‘Amazing Ash’. The sign boldly claimed not a single ‘Amazing Ash’ tree had been infested with the Emerald Ash Borer. The pest had forced many area homeowners to cut down their trees for the past two decades. Now, they would never have to lose their beloved shade trees. Unfortunately, they cost three times as much as a regular Ash tree despite the fact they were becoming more difficult to find.